Barak: Olmert´s cronies damaging Israel´s position (ISRAEL HAYOM) Shlomo Cesana and Mati Tuchfeld 05/03/12)
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In exclusive interview with Israel Hayom to be published Friday,
Defense Minister Ehud Barak blames Ehud Olmert, Meir Dagan and Yuval
Diskin for making remarks that "serve Iran and the groups it
controls" • Olmert responds: Barak will soon be gone from the
political map in Israel.
Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert´s "gang" and their comments on the
Iranian nuclear issue have "caused damage to Israel," Defense
Minister Ehud Barak told Israel Hayom in a special interview, to be
published in full on Friday.
In an unprecedented verbal attack against Olmert, former Mossad chief
Meir Dagan and former Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) chief Yuval
Diskin, who recently criticized the defense minister and prime
minister of being unfit to confront the Iranian threat, Barak
said, "It is not hard to see who [these remarks] are serving -- Iran
and the groups it controls."
Last week, Diskin aroused ire when he accused the country´s two top
political leaders of being "messianic" and exaggerating the
effectiveness of a possible military attack on Iran. "They´re
creating a false impression about the Iranian issue," Diskin said
Friday. "They´re appealing to the idiotic public, if you´ll pardon me
for the phrasing, and telling them that if Israel acts, there won´t
be an (Iranian) nuclear bomb."
Speaking at The Jerusalem Post conference on Sunday, Olmert refused
to comment on Diskin´s statements, but said, "I am familiar with the
heads of the security establishment. Some worked with me and they are
not necessarily enemies of Israel. We have to ask what is going on
when all former security-related leaders suddenly have the same
opinion. As long as they were in office, they were our heroes, and
now they are enemies of Israel? If they say the military option
should be our last option, they are said to be politically motivated.
But perhaps they simply have a different opinion?"
The comments by Diskin and Olmert come after repeated remarks by
former Mossad head Dagan against an attack on Iran. Last summer,
Dagan called a strike against Iran´s nuclear program "stupid," and
said an effective attack on Iran would be difficult because Iranian
nuclear facilities are scattered and mobile, and warned it could
In his interview to Israel Hayom, Barak said, "[Olmert´s cronies]
travel all over the world and their remarks serve to weaken the not-
inconsequential achievement of Israeli policy, which has turned the
Iranian nuclear threat into an important and urgent issue, not only
for Israel, but for the world at large."
"There are things that cannot be discussed in an open forum without
the mere discussion causing damage to the issue,” Barak said. “In the
U.K. there are things over which it is customary to say, ´It´s not
done´ -- they shouldn´t be discussed. In Diskin´s case, [the Iranian
issue] is not even his specialty, nor is it his responsibility. It is
the government that makes the decisions. The norm which governs
people who worked closely with the prime minister and defense
minister has been breached. What´s more, there are such big
differences between their behavior and willingness to work and even
their desire to extend their tenure then, when they were still in
their position, and their behavior now, after they´ve completed their
Barak told Israel Hayom that there might need to be an
intensification of the law requiring former security agency chiefs to
face a cooling-off period before entering politics: "In the U.S.,
someone who was chief of staff must wait 10 years before he can
become defense secretary," he said.
Olmert was quick to respond on Monday to Barak´s attack. A statement
issued by the former prime minister´s office, and quoted by Haaretz
on Monday, said, "The fact that a former prime minister and the three
former heads of Israel´s security agencies, who have acted jointly
and separately for years on the most sensitive matters relating to
Israel´s security, believe, without exception, that Barak, who will
soon be gone from the political map in Israel, is inflicting great
damage to the state´s security, should come as a warning signal for
Meanwhile, a smiling Barak arrived at a press conference on Wednesday
at Beit Sokolov to launch his Independence party´s election campaign.
"Independence, under my leadership, is running in the upcoming
elections," Barak declared, in an attempt to dispel any rumors that a
spot would be reserved for him on the Likud´s list. The press
conference also revealed the party´s election slogan: "Putting the
country in the center."
"We are appealing to citizens -- come take the road to success with
us," Barak said.
The defense minister took the opportunity to also criticize Yair
Lapid, who spoke a day earlier in support of his new party Yesh Atid
("There Is a Future") using the help of two teleprompters. "We came
here without teleprompters, but with a record, with the things we
have achieved and continue to achieve," Barak said.
Commenting on polls, most of which predict that the Independence
party will not pass the electoral threshold in the upcoming
elections, Barak said: "I remind everyone to check where Kadima was
in the polls three months ago and where it is today. This morning, I
saw a poll on television which showed that we jumped this week by 50
percent, from two seats to three, beyond the electoral threshold. In
the face of the downward trend the other parties are facing, we take
pride in this leap and we believe it will continue."
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